Loara High School displayed an explosive offensive weapon Friday night against Los Alamitos--its defense.
The Saxons' defense scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to lead Loara to a 25-8 Empire League victory over Los Alamitos in Anaheim's Glover Stadium.
Neither team scored in the first three quarters as defenses tightened and offenses self-destructed.
Each team entered the other's territory twice in the first three quarters. Those four drives ended with three missed field goals and a punt.
Loara's (1-0-1, 3-0-1) first touchdown was scored by the offense but was set up by the defense. Defensive back Brian Malavar intercepted Los Alamitos quarterback Tom Williamson's pass on the Loara 46. Ten plays later, running back Andy Janney scored on a six-yard run.
After that it was all defense.
Los Alamitos (1-1, 4-1) got the ball on its 14, and on the second play from scrimmage Williamson threw to the right sideline, where defensive back Tony Ferrentino was waiting.
After catching the ball at the 28, Ferrentino casually ran into the end zone.
"I saw flags, so I didn't know what was going on," he said.
The flags were against Los Alamitos (the Griffins were penalized 11 times for 93 yards), and the touchdown stood.
The teams traded possessions, then Los Alamitos took the ball at its four-yard line.
Williamson dropped to pass in the end zone, but as he set himself, he was grabbed around the shoulders and in desperation lofted a pass.
He shouldn't have.
Danny Rodriguez was waiting at the 19 to make the interception and return it for the score.
"It was like slow motion," he said. "I didn't think the ball would ever come down."
It was a nice turn for Rodriguez, who had fumbled two punts in the first half.
"I'm glad I did something to make people forget those," he said.
Los Alamitos got the ball back, and after one rushing play, running back Neil Sorenesen fumbled on the 14-yard line.
The ball took a big bounce into the arms of safety Tevita Aholelei, who sprinted down the left sideline for the score.
Los Alamitos finally mounted a drive on its last possession. Williamson completed a 15-yard touchdown to Ken Montgomery as time ran out.
Williamson was 19 for 40 for 216 yards.
"They were really challenging our secondary tonight," Loara Coach Herb Hill said. "But towards the end, they made some mistakes. That's where we got them."
Loara quarterback Bill Jarman, making his first start, completed all five of his passes in the first half. But Jarman left the game with a ankle injury and was replaced by Scott Wood, who was 2 for 6 for 39 yards.